As I mentioned yesterday, Diagnosis Murder was one of my absolute favorite TV shows growing up. The TV show follows Dr. Mark Sloane (Dick Van Dyke), the super intelligent doctor at Community General Hospital in Los Angeles, CA, who always loved mysteries and wanted to be a detective, achieving this dream by helping his police detective son, Steve (played by his real son Barry Van Dyke). The two are rounded out by Dr. Amanda Bentley (Victoria Rowell), the medical examiner; and Dr. Jesse Travis (played by Charlie Schlatter), my second favorite character. Dr. Jesse is the sweet, handsome, and adorable resident at Community General, and later head of the Emergency Room.
With each episode there would be a case that Steve was on, with him bringing in his dad and subsequently the rest of the team; although sometimes Mark would have suspicions about something and bring Steve into it. Either way it was one awesome show that balanced mystery, medicine, and crime.
Mystery, you say?
Which brings us to today’s episode. So yesterday I reviewed part one where we have discovered that they found the Casanova Killer, but it turns out one of his victims was actually not his. Before they could question him further, he was murdered by his cell mate. When they tried to investigate the cellmate he turned out to be murdered as well.
This episode focuses on our team trying to discover who the killer of Dusty is. As it was a perfect copy of the original serial killer it can only be someone who is on the inside.
This is a great episode, if you had watched the previous episode and paid attention to all the characters, especially the side ones it is easy to figure it out. I don’t want to give it away, as you can watch it free on PLUTO TV.
The episode is stolen by Kurt Fuller as Medical Examiner Dr. Albert. In the previous episode Mark excused his strange and odd behavior as just not being socially adept and having a lot of personal problems.
Everyone else sees it as more and as the episode continues, you can tell he is definitely 100% unhinged.
Diagnosis Murder was one of my absolute favorite TV shows growing up. It came on every Thursday night on PAX and it was the only time that my parents would let me stay up past my bedtime on a school night.
Dr. Mark Sloane (Dick Van Dyke) is the super intelligent doctor at Community General Hospital in Los Angeles, CA. He always loved mysteries and wanted to be a detective, achieving this dream by helping his police detective son, Steve (played by his real son Barry Van Dyke). The two are rounded out by Dr. Amanda Bentley (Victoria Rowell), the medical examiner; and Jack Stewart (Scott Baio); guy from a crime family turning from that life and making something of himself. Jack ended up leaving to go to Denver, and they brought in the character Jesse Travis (played by Charlie Schlatter), my second favorite character. Jesse is the sweet, handsome, and adorable resident at Community General, and later head of the Emergency Room.
With each episode their would be a case that Steve was on, with him bringing in his dad and subsequently the rest of the team; although sometimes Mark would have suspicions about something and being Steve into it. Either way it was one awesome show that balanced mystery, medicine, and crime.
Which brings us to today’s episode. Now I really struggled choosing just one as I have so many favorite episodes, in fact I originally wanted to review one last year but couldn’t decide so I shelved it until this year. After a lot of deliberating and going back and forth I finally settled on this two parter.
This episode is the fourth episode in season four. So far this season we have had a cop kill his partner “accidentally” only for it to turn out to be the widow who had been pulling the strings; the staff at Community General had to battle a smallpox strain, and outsmart a Tonya Harding-like killer.
This episode has special guest star, John Schneider (from the Dukes of Hazard), as a serial killer obsessed with Mark Sloan. We start the episode off with him preparing ritual: lighting candles, dressing the victim in lingerie, everything looking romantic-and calling Dr. Sloan to battle him. I can’t remember if this is the first time, but it most definitely will not be the last time a killer/criminal decides they want to go head to head with Dr. Sloan. He just attracts all the crazies.
Steve has been appointed in charge of the task force to discover the identity of the serial killer. Of course they hope that if Steve is in charge they can assist in the solving of the case.
There is a “B story” about Norman the hospital administrator, but is really boring and not really my time reviewing.
Steve heads to the latest victim of the “Casanova Killer” and finds everything to be the same as the prior three cases, even down to the Xs cut into the feet and no sexual contact. Also coming there is medical examiner, Dr. Albert Blank, played by Kurt Fuller. Yes you may recognize him as coroner Woody Strode in Psych. To be honest the way he acts, it is basically the same character although instead of silly/sweet/creepy/awkward he’s just creepy/awkward.
Back at the house Steve asks Mark to join him as he needs the best on his side. He, Mark, and Amanda start discussing the case. They share the info that has not been shared to the public, along with the fact that the victim had called Community General the night she passed, but there isn’t any record of her calling and someone talking to her.
When our Serial Killer finds out Mark is on the case, he is ecstatic-that’s exactly what he wants.
Later Mark and Albert meet up to discuss the case. Albert is super awkward, but a little upset that Mark no longer works with him, picking Amanda over him. Mark senses the disgruntlement and tries to smooth things over. Albert reveals that he has no money and his marriage is kaput. His wife sounds exactly like the wife of Woody in Psych. I think the Psych writers just copied the character but made him warmer.
Defense attorney Andrew King approaches them and tries to snoop for info. He really lays on the flattery for Albert which makes me very suspicious. I totally believe Albert would turn over information for more compliments.
Mark goes over the notes but finds them hard to unravel. He decides to give them to Amanda and have her take a second look. While at home perusing the case files he gets a call from the killer who is more than eager to share how pleased he is to have Dr. Sloan’s attention. This dude is extra crazy. I mean we already knew he was out of his mind as he’s a serial murderer, but his level of obsession with Dr. Sloan makes him double the crazy.
We see our serial killer working at the gas station, ouch the prices on this gas makes me hurt as they are sooooo cheap. I wish I could pay that today in California as currently has I like 5.69 a gallon.
I digress, he works at a gas station/car repair/car detail shop. It appears that as he’s handsome it’s easy for him to charm the women and make them feel comfortable. When patrons pay with a credit card he uses the excuse of needing to see ID (remember when you had to do that with every purchase?), to write down the personal info and select his victims.
Amanda comes to get gas and forgot her purse. The attendant/serial killer is intrigued when he hears that Amanda is a friend of Mark’s. Uh oh.
Later Amanda does another examination of the recent murder and discovers a fiber in the eyelash of the victim. Very interesting, and hopefully a clue to track down the killer.
Jesse is looking into the past crimes that Mark has solved while Amanda tracked down the recent credit card purchase to see if the victims intersected. No dice.
Unbeknownst to then, our killer is watching them and calls Mark taunting him. Steve tries to track the call, but our killer is too smart for them and has been calling from a pay phone. Our killer is angry that Mark hasn’t made more of an effort to find him and decides to up the ante. Oh…not good.
Our killer goes hunting for his next victim, finally letting us know his name is Michael Dern. He does increase it, killing two women in one night.
The next day they discover that the fiber on the eyelash was cotton soaked in baby oil. It appears either the women are taking their make up off, or he does it. Either way this case has gotten creepier.
Mark heads to get gas for his car and it turns out that he goes to the station Michael our serial killer works out. The two are friends it be way you have your favorite checker and we see why Michael is so obsessed as he feels Mark ignores his intelligence and looks down on him/slash he appears to be the only one who can match him in “smarts”. He gives Mark a car cover, recommending it as someone he uses; an obvious clue to the viewer-he’s trying to help Mark find him.
Steve gets to the cases and is upset that there are two, while Albert is just his usually weird self. Later that evening Albert meets with Amanda to give her the info, and it seems like defense attorney Andrew and Dr. Albert are no longer friends. Interesting…hmm.
Amanda brings the notes to Mark’s house where they go over the autopsy report and discover that all the six victims seem to be the same but they do not appear to intersect with each other-except the first five did go to the same gas stations; victim six is an outlier. But it can’t be a copycat right? None of the info was shared with anyone except those few on the case.
Meanwhile, Amanda visits the gas station Michael works at again, and this time uses her credit card. Michael takes down the info along with her vanity plate, Dr. AL (AL for Amanda [Bentley]Livingston, Amanda was married for a brief while).
That evening Steve and Mark are trying to figure out why a woman would allow a stranger into their house when they get the idea of a serviceman of repairman being behind it. Just as they come to that realization, they receive another call from Michael who threatens to kill Dr. Al; Michael means Amanda while Mark thinks he is referring to Dr. Al Blank. Mark is confused, but insults Michael in order to keep him on the line and trade where he calls from.
Amanda is home alone as her husband and son are out of town for a little while when Michael comes knocking by claiming to have her credit card. However, unlike the other women she doesn’t let him in but checks her purse and intends to call the police, stopped by Michael who snuck into the house.
They track the call to the gas/service station where they find out Michael is the one behind it all. While there Mark discovers that Michael set up a system where every car being repaired or detailed on is referred to by their license plate. Good thing too a they are able to save Amanda instead of wasting their time going to Dr. Albert’s.
While prepping his ritual Michael complains to Amanda about how Mark never pays attention to him. He sounds like those girls/guys who believe they like someone (when they really didn’t) and get all weird/angry when the person doesn’t like them back.
Amanda tries to prolong him and we end up discovering that he hates women because of his abusive mother who tortured him. It turns out she died six months ago, and that is exactly what started the killing-his trigger.
All are celebrating over their arrest of Michael when their receive a call he wants to talk to Mark. Mark reluctantly goes down there and hears Michael talk about his victims. He also shares a really important tidbit, that he did not kill the sixth victim. That’s why she doesn’t match the others with the overlap of the gas station. Uh oh, that means not only do they have a copycat it has to be someone who was involved in the case as the murder was identical to the others. At best one of the people on the task force is a mole/shared the information with someone.
But the worst and far more likely, one of the members of the task force is a killer.
Before they could question Michael more, he’s murdered. They try to speak to the guy’s sharing the cell with him, one has disappeared as he made bail without making a call. Very suspicious but the case is “over” as everyone wants to believe Michael did it and it’s case closed.
Steve doesn’t like this and puts himself on the case of finding Michael’s murderer. He discovers that the guy who killed Michael is also dead. It is clear that Micheal didn’t kill the 6th victim. But if it wasn’t Michael who killed her, and tried to frame him?
What If the Man You Married Wasn’t Who You Thought He Was?
My sister really wanted to watch this series as she likes the actor Lee Joon-gi and heard it was a really good mystery. You know I’m always down for a mystery.
We watched this on Vicki and I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a great mystery, good pacing, and the actors were phenomenal. My only complaint would be the last two episodes, the story was really strong, but I think the writers struggled at the end with tying up all the threads and trying to give a twist + happy ending.
The story is actually based on true events. There was a serial killer, Lee Chun-jae, who murdered people in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and in greatly impacted the Korean culture (kind of like how Bundy or Dahmer has did for the US). In fact they ended up jailing the Lee for the murder of his sister-in-law and only discovered he was the serial killer they had been searching for in 2019 when DNA testing came into play. Because at the time that Lee had committed the crimes, he still fell under the old law of a statue of limitations on murder (when they changed it, they did not make it retroactive), Lee would never be able to go to jail for the crimes he committed. He is currently serving his original sentence.
Our story begins with policewoman, Cha Ji-won (Moon Chae-won), who is extremely excellent at her job, solving the tough cases. She discusses the end of her most recent case with reporter, Kim Moo-jin (Seo Hyun-woo). During the interview Kim struggles as his pen constantly stops working, with Cha giving him one her husband made, hoping he’ll go do a story on him. Her husband Baek Hee-sung (Lee Joon-gi) designs pens, jewelry, and other metalworks.
Cha comes home from work to see her daughter and her perfect husband Baek. He cooks, cleans, takes care of their daughter, etc. Not to mention he is tall, handsome, and comes from a wealthy family and is an amazing metal craftsman.
The only fly in the ointment is that his parents hate her, especially his mom.
However, Baek turns out to not be so perfect after all. He has several secrets he’s hiding from his wife. First of all his mother doesn’t really hate Cha, Baek is the one who has designed to keep them apart. He doesn’t want them growing close or else his wife will find out…find out what?
Meanwhile, a death similar to serial killer Do Min-seok, (who was active in the late ‘90s and early 2000s and is based on Lee) has surfaced. Back then the authorities were searching for his accomplice, many believing that his son Do Hyun-soo was assisting him. But the search for Do Hyun-soo came up empty as he completely disappeared. Cha is investigating, and spends a lot of time trying to search for the killer and the last missing victim, Jung Mi-sook.
Reporter Kim is researching and wants to speak to a metal craftsman for more information as serial killer Do was one. In fact, Kim knew Do as he was the father of his girlfriend and the boy he bullied, Hyun Soo. He goes to see Cha’s husband Baek and Baek turns out to be Do Hyun Soo! The serial killers son!
Baek/Do insists that he was never the assistant serial killer but that people just assumed he was because his father was and he is on the spectrum, not having any “normal” social interaction skills. He blackmails Reporter Kim to assist him in discovering who the current murderer could be and the identity of the former serial killer assistant.
This part of the series is really thrilling as we have this giant game of cat and mouse with Baek/Do having to throw his wife off the scent, while getting involved further in the case.
After it is determined that Do Hyun Soo is not the current killer from now, as it is a copycat Cha still wants to try and find Do Hyun Soo. But to me this doesn’t make any sense as in South Korea there was a statue of limitations for 15 years on murder, it being extended to 25 years in 2007, and then removed in 2015 (currently there is no statue of limitations); the decision not being retroactive. The timeframe that the police believe Do Hyun Soo assisted his father was in 2002. Even if they found Do Hyun Soo, they could never charge him. Why such urgency to find him when there are other cases Cha could be working on?
Eventually Cha discovers Baek’s true identity and forces him to team up with her.
The mystery and twist is really well written until it reaches a point where the wife believes her husband committed a crime that would be impossibly for him to do as she been tracking him with GPS (unknown to him) and spending about 95% of her time with him. She also immediately assumes he committed a murder without even checking when the victim’s time of death was or confirming whether her husband’s alibi was true or not.
They also put amnesia in at the end that I didn’t care for; but I still recommend it as everything else about the series was really good. Especially Lee Joon-gi as the main role Do/Baek. He is just phenomenal! The other actor that steals the show is Kim Ji-hoon. I saw Kim Ji-hoon in The Flower Boy Next Door and thought he was a good actor, but wow is he amazing in this. You really see how great actor he is and the range of his abilities. He seriously scared me! I won’t tell you what part he played as I don’t want to ruin it for any who might give this series a watch.
It’s that time of the year again! Time for another Horrorfest, 31 days of horror, mystery, monsters, etc.
So I started Horrorfest back when I first began blogging. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with it, the direction I wanted to go in. Since I like to watch scary movies every day in October, I decided to review them, and I had so much I fun I continued every year.
I know some people aren’t interested in it or would think it has nothing to do with my blog’s title, but you know who would love it and be so into horror films?
When I started this, I used a lot of stills from the movies I was reviewing and ended up with a a bunch of photos I couldn’t reuse for future posts. Since then I try to add less, unless I think I can use it for future posts or that it is crucial to the story. Instead I reuse old photos and I try to caption each photo with what film it came from, but at times I forget.
Over the years I have established a set of rules and annual films categories.
Rules are there must be at least one film or TV show episode:
Last year when I reviewed The Stepfather 2009, I also planned on watching and reviewing this version as well. But it was late at night, the wind was blowing my cat wreath on my door making it sound as if someone was knocking, and the wind caused the tree branch by my bedroom window to slap the pane. As I started the film, Terry O’Quinn staring into the mirror after murdering his family scared me so that I had to put something fun on.
Later when I went to rewatch the film, it was no longer on Amazon prime for free. So I decided to wait.
This past May I had my niece for the weekend and usually we watch Kdramas, Cdramas, anime, or romantic comedies. But she also loves horror and was in the mood to watch something. As we flicked through what Amazon had to offer this film came up, and even though it was an “old film” (her words) she decided to give it a try. I told her is scared me the first time I tried watching it and after we both agreed it was way better than the remake. Terry O’Quinn just does such a great job at being creepy.
So this film is party based on John List, who murdered his family and assumed another identity, and partly on some of the issues the screenwriter, Donald E. Westlake was facing as a new stepfather to a teenage girl. However, while both things influenced the film, it isn’t really based on a specific incident.
The film begins with Terry O’Quinn having murdered his family and changing how he looks-shaving his beard, changing from glasses to contacts, etc. This scene is especially creepy as he stares into the mirror and into you, your eyes!
He packs up his things and heads out, passing by the butchered remains of his family. This is probably the most graphic scene of the film and really shows the character of the “Stepfather” as he calmly takes care of everything, not bothered or touched at all by the massacre he created. He leaves, takes the ferry, dumps a suitcase of incriminating evidence into the lake, heads to a new town, and creates a new identity.
A year has passed and the “Stepfather” is going by Jerry Blake, is a real estate agent for American Eagle Real Estate, and has married widow Susan Maine (Shelley Hack); becoming stepfather to Jill Maine (Jill Schoelen). Susan of course loves him and prepares a gourmet dinner every night with dessert. Jill on the other hand hates him, and has started acting out in school. She confides to her therapist that she hates being around Jerry (although has no specific concerns or issues that are harming her safety) and is trying to get expelled and sent to a boarding school away from him. He therapist encourages her to try and give Jerry another chance. Jill reluctantly agrees to.
Meanwhile in Seattle, Jerry’s previous wife’s brother, James Ogilvie is obsessed with the case and trying to find “Henry” (what Jerry went by previously). He is living in his car and harasses the newspaper reporter who wrote about the crime and the police officers. Both tell him to move on, but the reporter does agree to write a new article and include a picture, to see if someone has seen “Henry”.
To be honest, Jim looks insane and his drifter lifestyle didn’t help him any. If I encountered him, I would have brushed him off as he sounds like a fanatic.
Back in Jerry’s world he is hosting a BBQ for his friends, clients, and neighbors. He gives a big speech about community and family-very sweet and heartwarming, but something Jill finds disgusting. At the BBQ one of the adults has a newspaper and they start discussing the article about the killing by “Henry”. The article has no picture, but even though there is no direct way to connect it to him, Jerry gets freaked out. He changed the subject to lighter things and turns the paper into a newspaper hat for one of the kids.
Afterwards he goes to the basement, his work area, and has a full on devolved freak out. He starts manically rambling, about his childhood. Originally, the story included scenes of Jerry’s past and how he was abused as a child, but I actually prefer the story with those scenes cut. I think that Quinn is expressive enough in the way he acts and behaves that you can tell he grew up in an unhappy home and is striving for his “perfect TV family”. In a lot of ways he reminds me of Jim Carrey’s character in TheCable Guy, although more murder-y.
Stephanie sees him there as she was sent to get ice cream from the freezer, and she gets really unnerved at seeing him like that. He tells her that he gets tired of always being perfect and the salesman, so he needed to unwind.
Yeah that was some weird angry venting going on. Stephanie leaves to the party but searches for the newspaper that seemed to upset him. She sees it is an article about the killer and writes to the newspaper to get information, convinced that Jerry is the killer. She shares her findings with her friend, but she isn’t convinced.
Meanwhile, Jim accosts the newspaper reporter for not including a picture, but he shares that his editor nixed it. Jim decides to continue his drifting and searching, getting closer to where Jerry is hiding out.
Stephanie waits for the mail to come, but one day Jerry comes homie earlier and steals it. He then goes to a photography studio and buys a print which he switches out and then places the envelope back in the mail. When Stephanie gets it, she is disappointed that it turns out to not be Jerry, although you think she would be happy that her stepfather isn’t a serial killer, but whatever.
Meanwhile, Dr. Bondurant, Jill’s therapist has wanted to meet with Jerry for a while. As Jerry knows the risk of speaking to the therapist, and having him figure him out, he has been avoiding him. Dr. Bondurant refuses to take no for an answer and sets up an appointment to buy a house under an assumed name.
Jerry starts off really charming and nice, but quickly figures out that Dr. Bondurant has no interest in getting a house, but is there to emotionally probe him.
Jerry Blake: I wanna ask you something. Are you interested in buying a house… Or are you interested in me?
Jerry can’t have that and the doctor is gone. After he has murdered him, Jerry searches his coat, expecting him to be a reporter or cop and is surprised to see he is the therapist. He quickly cleans up and dumps the body in the car, placing a rock on the gas pedal so it will crash and everyone will think it was a car accident.
Jerry tells Stephanie of the death (after he is told by the receptionist) and the two bond. They work on a bird house together and everything is good in the home…until Stephanie starts dating her friend and Jerry catches her kissing the boy. He yells and wants to call the police on him, but Sue convinces him not to. Stephanie is embarrassed and furious!
Jerry perfect family ideal is destroyed and he starts preparing himself for a new life. He quits his job, finds one in a new town, a place to rent, and a widow. Once he has everything prepared he decides it is time to end the ladies’ life.
Jim has finally tracked Jerry down and found his home. He speaks to Sue who won’t give out much information, causing Jim to leave and plan on coming back later. Sue then calls Jerry at work, only to discover he quit.
That night when Jerry comes home is an incredibly creepy scene. He keeps getting his multiple identities confused and he starts mixing them up. Kind of like that Criminal Minds episode when they have a similar situation in Miami.
Jerry tries to soothe the upset Sue, by promising her it was a receptionist’s mistake. But he tells her the wrong name! He then completely devolves, and Sue is confused and shocked.
Jerry Blake: Wait a minute, who am I here?
Jerry Blake: That’s right. Jerry Blake. Thanks honey.
But even though it looks like everything is calmed down, Jerry decides the time to strike is now and kill Sue, smacking her in the head with the phone and knocking her down the stairs. He then prepares to go after the dog, but changes tactics when Stephanie returns home.
However, the Blake/Maine family never locks their door, which seems weird for a killer who is always worried about people being after them-and Jim just walks right in.
Jerry is about to attack Stephanie, but Jim tries to come at him and Jerry slashes him instead. Stephanie, frightened, runs and tries to find a way out. As Jerry blocks the only exit out, she runs upstairs into the attic, where she is followed by Jerry.
Stephanie tries to find something to defend herself with but there is nothing. Jerry advances, but falls through a rotted section of the floor. Stephanie tries to escape, but Jerry recovers and comes after her again. All looks lost until Sue, who has managed to crawl up the stairs after being smacked in the head and thought dead, grabs the gun and shoots Jerry twice-Stephanie finishing up the job by stabbing him in the chest.
At the end, Stephanie is with her mom, hacking down the birdhouse Jerry made and destroying it. I’m sure Sue will never date again after that experience.
A very creepy film that is much better than the remake. And you know what I always say about that-the original is always better.